HB1599 allows adopted children to access their birth records upon request. There were several emotional testimonies highlighting the importance of a person being able to track their birth parents. There are certain requirements but finally there is a pathway for them to ascertain their past without a long, expensive ordeal. My HB2355, which establishes a Board of Directors to oversee the implementation and enforcement of the new Missouri Standards for the Administration of Juvenile Justice, passed with nearly unanimous support in the House and Senate.
Now for the big issues. We passed 3 bills dealing with ethics reform. The “Revolving Door” for legislators to become lobbyists has been closed. Elected officials acting as paid consultants will no longer be allowed, and campaign funds will be banned from ex legislators acting as lobbyists. The Speaker announced that our first bills next session will deal with campaign finances. Voter ID measures passed both the House and Senate by a wide margin and will eventually be placed on the ballot. Another balanced budget was passed with NO New Taxes! We provided record funding for K-12 education as well as a 4% increase for Higher Ed. We banned public funding for abortions, and added $500,000 to the Alternatives to Abortion program. We also were able to give state employees a 2% raise. We passed two Tort Reform measures and three Agriculture bills including one that clarifies that an animal owner is only liable for damages caused by an animal if they are found to be negligent. We passed a welfare reform measure that allows us to hire outside firms to verify applicants and recipients of state aud. This has been proven to be highly successful in other states and is sorely needed in Missouri. SB656 drew a lot of heat but passed by 114-36. This bill further protects our Second Amendment rights by allowing a person to carry a concealed firearm anywhere that isn’t expressly prohibited by law without a permit. It also contains a provision commonly referred to as “Stand Your Ground” law. This removes the requirement that a person who is any place that they are legally allowed to be can use force without first attempting to retreat. I have no doubt that the Governor will veto this measure but I’m confident that we will override him in September.
We also had a few failures. After passing the “Paycheck Protection” measure in the House and Senate and successfully overriding the Governor in the House, the Senate failed by one vote to override. We were also unsuccessful in passing Prescription Drug Monitoring making us the only state in the U.S. that hasn’t. Our attempt to designate a fetus as “Human” also died in the Senate but all these measures will be back next session as will the attempt to provide a guaranteed revenue stream for MoDot. The entire world of politics, both in the State and Federal Government, will be different by January when we re-convene.
On Tuesday the Seneca High School Championship Wrestling Team were at the Capitol. We had resolutions for Max Roark, Dalton Hembree, Jesse Rhoades, and Trey Smith for their individual championships as well as one for Coach Jeff Sill for his great job of coaching them. The Goodman Elementary 4th Graders were also visiting. They made a business plan and then raised $1600 dollars to pay for their trip! What a great week for District Schools!
Lots on the schedule for this week but at least I don’t have to drive to Jeff City!